The Monastery of Oia
The resort town of Baiona has plenty of accommodation options from its Parador, one of the very finest in all of Spain to budget hotels. It also has lots of bars/restaurants serving the local fishing catch and the local, abariño white wines increasingly so popular at an international level. So no surprises that it’s a popular destination with the Spanish and we know how much they like good food and drink! Baiona also has a long history associated with the Camino. It’s old hospital (Sancti Spiritus) was built in the 16th century to look after pilgrims and the poor. Santa María Church which dates back to the 13th century has a statue of Saint James the Apostle (Santiago) to the left of the altarpiece as well as the scallop shell, the iconic symbol of the Camino. Santiago on his horse can be seen in the 17th Century Santa Liberata Church which dates back to 1595. And the 15th century Santísima Trinidade Cross (the only covered cross in Galicia!) directly on the Camino has an image of Santiago too carved at the base of the cross. At Ramallosa pilgrims cross its beautiful 13th century roman bridge.
The Camino passes through the city of Vigo which has plenty of things to see including its hilltop fortress and park at O Castro, its Old Town and nice squares like Plaza Compostela and its Port area with views of the estuary, the mussel beds and Cies Islands,a candidate UNESCO world heritage area ! The stage to Redondela is also beautiful and is known as the water route as it passes waterfalls and nice woodland with breathtaking views looking out towards the Vigo estuary from above. Then from Redondela where the two caminos meet there are even more pilgrims and albergues, bars etc, The Camino passes the well preserved Old Town of Pontevedra probably the best in Galicia after Santiago, full of medieval,noble houses and beautiful monuments like the scallop shaped Santuario de la Virgen Peregrina, be sure to get your stamp there.
Shortly after there’s an option to do a few different stages on the relatively new Spiritual Way. This too is a beautiful walk via Combarro with its horreos that seem to almost rise out of the sea. It goes past monasteries and descending,a steep gorge then the Salnes valley famous for its albariño vineyards after passing more religious sights you arrive in Vilanova de Arousa Then a real highlight the boat trip up the River Ulla passing Catoira famous for its Viking Festival and the remains of its West Tower fortifications, as far as Pontecesures next to Padrón where the Camino meets the traditional Portuguese Way again.
Otherwise the majority of pilgrims continue from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis known for its thermal spas. After more beautiful and at places challenging woodland and countryside walking you arrive in Padrón famous for its delicious green peppers. It’s at the River Sar where Saint James disciples disembarked with his remains in 42AD so it’s the most symbolic place on the Camino after Santiago. There’s also Santiago Church which has the stone the boat was moored to carrying Santiago’s body. And it’s at Santa Maria Church in Iria Flavia that the Bishop of Ira unveiled the tomb of Santiago in 813. After passing Pazo Faramello (worth a visit by appointment only) not long after you start climbing gradually and after Milladoiro at Agro dos Monteiros you get your first glimpse of the bell towers of Santiago. The last 7 km are not easy but spirits lift when you pass Alameda Park (climbing up into the gardens presents you with the best views of the Cathedral from an amazing viewpoint). You then enter the Old Town at Porta Faxeira which leads into Rúa do Franco which is full of bars,restaurants and gift shops until you reach Plaza Obradoiro and the majestic Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. A thoroughly amazing journey of discovery and one of life’s magical experiences.
We offer walking style holidays on the Portuguese Way and we are specialists on the Portuguese Coastal Way and its variations either from Porto, Baiona or any other departure point on this way.